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News: Walmart - The Life and Thoughts of Zach

Jan. 21st, 2004

02:35 am - News: Walmart

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Here's my more "newsy" account of the Walmart story:

Tonight 4 city council members (Patt, Wyman, Chynoweth, Hayes) voted unanimously to approve the Preliminary Subdivision Plat for Walmart in East Urbana at the corner of route 130 and route 150. Council members Huth and Whelan were absent and Otto recused himself due to a conflict of interest. Over 40 members of the public submitted comments all but two of which were opposed to the Walmart development.

The mayor and council members explained that because Walmart's proposal did not include any requests for incentives from the City that the law gave Walmart an absolute private property right to develop on that land which has been zoned B3 for several months. The only choice for council this evening would be to determine that the development plan wasn't up to city code and to give Walmart a chance to come up to code.

Members of the public expressed many concerns about the impact of Walmart on local businesses and the environment, questioned the reality of the $700,000 tax revenue that some claimed Walmart would bring in, and expressed general frustration with the process in which they were constantly told that any given meeting was not the right place to discuss whether or not Walmart should build in Urbana. Those opposed to Walmart hoped that Council members would table tonight's vote or find a reason to vote against it.

Comments:

From:(Anonymous)
Date:January 23rd, 2004 02:58 am (UTC)

"$700,000" from where?

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Subject says it all. Where is this money coming from? What specific new sources of tax revenue are created that other area merchants can't or aren't handling? The one good thing is that they aren't asking for incentives.
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From:zarfmouse
Date:January 23rd, 2004 03:34 am (UTC)

Re: "$700,000" from where?

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The word on the street is that the $700k figure comes from Savoy (nearby suburb of Champaign) which said something like "after the Walmart was built our existing $700,000 sales tax revenue doubled". But who knows if that was due to Walmart or if it was due to the economy picking up or if it was due to other economic developments in the area or what. And who knows what the long term costs will be. And why should we believe that by adding a THIRD Walmart we will experience the same economic effect that another town had adding a SECOND Walmart.

I think the hope is that Urbana will bring people who currently shop in Champaign back to Urbana for their shopping so the sales tax stays here. I don't know why most Walmart shopping Urbana residents would prefer going 3 miles out of town to the east over going 3 miles over to Champaign in the west given that Champaign's Walmart has a ton of other stores by it and this one has nothing at all.

That's why it would have made so much more sense to put this up by Rt 45 and I-74 where there is ALREADY a big box store and a strip mall and an interstate exchange. None of that exists where the new Walmart is so either it'll fail and there'll be a big empty box store on the east edge of town or it'll succeed and there'll be ANOTHER half-assed business district in a town that already has a few scattered half-assed business districts.

So lame.
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